On September 28, 2012 The Soundrunner Ferry Made its Last Run
The Edmonds to Kingston ferry is one of the most crowded ferry routes, and people trying to get their automobiles onto the ferry sometimes face a two hour wait. Those wishing to get from Kingston to downtown Seattle face a number of slow public transit options once they arrive on the other side, and the SoundTransit and Amtrak trains only serve the Edmonds station several times a day.
Thus, in October of 2010, the Port of Kingston launched a new passenger-only ferry service that bypasses the congestion and slow services and connection delays associated with Edmonds, and today people can make a direct downtown Seattle to Kingston link if they have no need of their automobile once they arrive in Seattle.
The fare was $7 one way, and may be purchased on the boat, at the Kingston ferry terminal, or at the city of Seattle Pier 50, where the boat terminates in downtown Seattle.
The crossing time each direction is about 50 minutes.
The current schedule, unfortunately, is quite limited: one round trip in the morning and one in the evening. It is primarily aimed at the commuter traffic to downtown Seattle from Kitsap County and Jefferson County.
Free WiFi service is available on the boat.
Kingston is located on the west end of the Kingston - Edmonds ferry. As much of the traffic is Seattle to Olympic Peninsula traffic there isn't a huge amount of passenger only traffic.
Don't expect too much at the Kingston Ferry Terminal! It may be one of the more busy terminals on the system, but almost all of this is automobile and truck traffic. It has overhead walkways so that walk-on passengers don't have to fight the vehicle traffic. It has a covered waiting area, but no wall on one side so it really isn't a substantial shelter. It is possible to get out of the wind somewhat if waiting on the walkway to the ferry but even that isn't heavy enclosed. There are flush toilets in the restrooms but that is the only completely enclosed location in the entire ferry terminal structure.
The passenger waiting area, which is beside the auto staging area, is shown in photo 2.
Food services are restricted to two vending machines. Generally at least there is something available on the ferry, and it isn't too far to walk to restaurants in Kingston proper.
Passengers are charged $7.70 (current prices) for a round trip ticket from Edmonds to Kingston and back at the Edmonds side. This prevents them from having to maintain fare systems at the Kingston terminal, and so walk-on passengers can simply start to board when the announcement is made.
There is a bus stop located up the hill past the Port of Kingston offices and across the street. Uphill from the auto staging area for the ferry terminal, you will find a narrow street that hardly looks like a street running parallel to the waterfront. This is called Washington Blvd., and between the two segments of State Route 104 going to the ferry terminal (one way street on south side) and from the ferry terminal (one way street on north side) you will find the closest bus stop. This bus stop is served by Kitsap Transit bus routs 91 and 92. Route 91 goes to several park and ride lots as well as heading south to the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal. 92 heads west to Poulsbo. Neither route operates extremely frequently.
Until September 28 of 2012, the Soundrunner ferry direct to downtown Seattle operated from here as well. However, ridership was inadequate for the Port of Kingston to want to continue operating it.
Auto and truck traffic is fairly simple: continue west on State Route 104 until it ends in the auto staging area. There is a toll booth for collecting the vehicle fee, after which the vehicle takes a place in line. There is an area to the right of the toll booths on Washington Avenue that is designated as a drop-off point, but the entire marina area could be used as a drop off point as well.
Due to the huge traffic troubles in Kingston due to people coming back to Seattle and suburbs from the Olympic Peninsula on Sunday afternoon, there is a "tally system" that was implemented to prevent people from cutting in line at the ferry terminal. Tally slips are distributed at the intersection of Lindvog and State Route 104, and distribution starts when traffic volumes start to get high so it depends on the time of year and the weather that weekend. If you arrive at the ferry terminal without a tally slip, you will be asked to go back to Lindvog and SR 104 to get another one.
There is a pay to park parking lot that isn't very well marked at Ohio and 1st. There are 73 spaces available. The next nearest parking requires a trip on Kitsap Transit.
When you are visiting the Olympic Peninsula you can catch the ferry from Kingston to Edmonds (then a 20 min, drive to Seattle), you have a few different options to get back to Seattle, the most popular option is to 'catch the ferry'. (Washington State Ferry) Puget Sound crossing time is approx. 30 minutes from Kingston to beautiful Edmonds. You can walk on, or drive on and it operates from morning to evening every day. Whether it is day or night you will have a relaxing, scenic trip to Seattle. If it's a clear day, you will easily be able to view Mt Rainier to the south - especially spectacular at sunset.
There are several levels you can enjoy via stair cases (the brand new ferries have elevators - but count on using stairs) You can also sit on the top deck and enjoy the view or walk around.
The ferries are big and modern and vending machines have snacks and beverages on board. The cafeteria on board is currently closed due to food service workers strike issues.
Passenger R/T: $5.70
Car & Driver one way: $12.70
(be sure to check WSF web site for current fares and schedule - they are always changing)
Get in line early and as the saying goes "the ferry waits for no one"
Enjoy your ferry trip and take your camera!!